One of the few facts I knew about my father as a young boy was his adoration of The Doors music. Wikipedia didn’t exist back then, and I was too young to know Jim Morrison was a controversial figure who was the first rock artist to be arrested while performing onstage, among other dicey antics.
As newlyweds, my father even convinced my mother accompany him to a concert when the Doors toured through Utah. The thought of Jim Morrison performing in Utah still makes me smile. To this day, I’m not convinced my mother has forgiven my father for buying those tickets.
Yet, I never really embraced the Doors. Their music felt distant and Morrison’s voice didn’t connect with me. Even the organ reminded me of church, which was painfully boring to a boy wearing a clip-on tie and attempting to remain awake during the three hour service. It wasn’t until years later when I watched Apocalypse Now and heard The End that I began to understand the mystery of the Doors.
This is the end
This is the end
My only friend, the end
My mother couldn’t stand the Doors and especially Jim Morrison. When I began listening to rock music in my teens, I’d often use a comparison to them when my mother would express displeasure in my choice of bands. For example, “Hey, at least David Lee Roth didn’t expose himself onstage”. No matter how raunchy my music was, it was never worse than what the Doors performed.
It was the early 80’s and groups like Van Halen, Def Leppard, and Rush were popular. MTV was all the rage and we had it before many of my friends. Girls were still too scary to approach so we’d spend Friday nights in front of my parents 19-inch Magnavox watching music videos. I even began to like Big Log by Robert Plant after the twentieth viewing. I swear MTV played Big Log every sixth video.
The only solo effort from Plant I still enjoy is In the Mood and then not even the entire song. The first minute of the song rocks because Plant doesn’t sing, and the last minute rocks because Plant makes up incomprehensible lyrics. But that didn’t stop me from singing along. I’m still surprised my mom didn’t ask me to explain the title of the song. Or ask why Plant swims in his boxer shorts.
It wasn’t long before I sat in the locker room after a baseball game and one of my teammates played Pink Floyd’s, The Wall. I heard Comfortably Numb and was hooked. He let me borrow The Wall and Dark Side of the Moon and I’d found my favorite band that still stands today.
Most of my friends thought Pink Floyd was too strange. That made me like them even more. I was listening to Mother while they listened to Billy Jean. There were a few older boys who loved Floyd, and when I discovered them, was invited into their unofficial Floyd Fan Club. We sat around listening to their albums trying to decipher the lyrics. We probably should have started with Comfortably Numb.
Those are fond memories. I’m glad my parents let me discover my own musical tastes minus the heavy handed tactics. One of my friends purchased the Business as Usual album by Men at Work only to have his father toss it in the fire before he could play it. I’m not kidding. The guys who gave us the vegemite sandwich fed the flames.
His next album, REO Speedwagon, was safe at our house. Imagine if he’d brought home Motley Crue?
How close do you monitor what your children listen to?